Labor Matters

rooseveltIn the early 1980’s I was employed by what was then General Telephone & Electric, Co. In 2000 Bell Atlantic bought GTE and renamed itself Verizon.

For a short period of time before I resigned from GTE to go to graduate school, I was a member of the Communication Workers of America (CWA).

When I joined the union I really did not have a conviction about the value and work of CWA, or any other union for that matter. I joined simply to get ready for the union’s contract re-negotiations with the company.

Today, however, I have a greater understanding of and appreciation for the work of unions – their history in the United States, their role in the development of the country and the many benefits that labor unions have fought for and gained for American workers.

Texas, the state in which I live, is a right-to-work state. There are unions and union activity here, though, but there is no union representaion in the school district where I am employed. Many of the teachers in the district are members of various state teacher associations but these are more like societies for education professionals than unions. I personally have made several contacts with one particular teacher’s union about associate membership with it but have never received any return correspondence. If there was union representation in this district, I would be among the first to join.

I share all of this not only because I am very interested in labor, labor unions and working class issues, but because labor issues, including the Employee Free Choice Act, were campaign issues in this year’s presidential election.

Over the next week or two I intend to post several articles that pertain to labor, labor unions and the working class. The articles will address the benefits of unions for union members and workers in general, low union representation and labor density in the US, how to revive the labor movement, and the Employee Free Choice Act.

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